When do you negotiate merit scholarships?

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JennBNYC
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When do you negotiate merit scholarships?

Postby JennBNYC » Tue Dec 14, 2010 12:28 am

I got offered a merit scholarship at a regional school I'm interested in attending. I'm above their 75th percentiles for both LSAT and GPA, but I was only offered about 1/3 of the tuition. I'm in-state, so tuition is relatively low, but with a high COL 3 years still adds up to a lot. I feel like I should be able to ask for more merit scholarship money, but when do I do it?

Should I wait until I have offers from other schools to use as leverage? That sounds reasonable, but is it better to ask for more money right away, before they offer scholarships to other people and there's theoretically less money to go around? I've read some threads on TLS and they suggest using other offers as leverage, but I don't want to wait too long, especially since I'm above the 75th percentile for LSAT and GPA, and that would seem to justify some bargaining...

Any advice with regards to timing would be greatly appreciated!

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JennBNYC
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Re: When do you negotiate merit scholarships?

Postby JennBNYC » Tue Dec 14, 2010 5:56 pm

Please :cry:

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General Tso
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Re: When do you negotiate merit scholarships?

Postby General Tso » Tue Dec 14, 2010 5:58 pm

I'd probably wait until the spring. People will withdraw and free up scholarship money starting in about early to mid April.

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JennBNYC
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Re: When do you negotiate merit scholarships?

Postby JennBNYC » Tue Dec 14, 2010 6:04 pm

General Tso wrote:I'd probably wait until the spring. People will withdraw and free up scholarship money starting in about early to mid April.


Hmmm. Well, the only thing is that I need to mail in my seat deposit by April 1st if I'm going to attend, so I'd have to negotiate sometime before then. That's why part of me thought to negotiate now, before they offer out a lot of the funds. But I'm still torn because I haven't heard from the school's "competitors" to use their decisions to help my cause. Maybe early March then...

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txadv11
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Re: When do you negotiate merit scholarships?

Postby txadv11 » Wed Dec 15, 2010 12:15 am

"75th percentiles for both LSAT and GPA, but I was only offered about 1/3 of the tuition"

I agree this seems rather low considering your numbers. Have you checked lawschoolnumbers.com to see what similar applicants are getting? I know some schools are incredibly generous, and others barely have any merit based scholarship.

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mpj_3050
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Re: When do you negotiate merit scholarships?

Postby mpj_3050 » Wed Dec 15, 2010 12:29 am

General Tso wrote:I'd probably wait until the spring. People will withdraw and free up scholarship money starting in about early to mid April.


I'm inclined to believe General Tso. I am in the same boat and need to try to get rid of a GPA stipulation with a school's offer. Of course more money would be nice and maybe waiting things out a bit will help.

nickwar
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Re: When do you negotiate merit scholarships?

Postby nickwar » Wed Dec 15, 2010 12:33 am

I "negotiated" mine after all my acceptances had come in. I put negotiated in quotes because all I did was simply send an e-mail to a middle-tiered school (and my school of original choosing) explaining politely I had received acceptances at other, higher-ranked schools but would love to attend ____ because money is a major concern.

They e-mailed me back a few days later upping my scholarship offer by 50%. I accepted the next day.

I don't know how this went for other students, but just be polite, lay your cards down on the table without being pushy, and explain both your need for scholarship $$$ and actual desire to attend the university and you may have success. If you don't, what have you lost? I highly doubt they're going to axe your scholarship/acceptance for asking.

People seemed amazed I sent such an e-mail, but it was the easiest $10,000 I've earned in my life. You'll regret it if you don't try.

Update: My numbers were median LSAT, 75th GPA. I was offered a little over 1/3rd tuition initially and they bumped it a little over 1/2 tuition afterward. My scholarship was at a 30ish school and my other acceptances were around 18-22 with no $$$.
Last edited by nickwar on Wed Dec 15, 2010 12:36 am, edited 2 times in total.

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kalvano
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Re: When do you negotiate merit scholarships?

Postby kalvano » Wed Dec 15, 2010 12:35 am

Negotiate when you have leverage. Other schools offers would be helpful. "My numbers are good but you didn't like me enough" probably won't hold as much weight as "XYZ University is offering me this much but I really like your school...can you help me out?"

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txadv11
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Re: When do you negotiate merit scholarships?

Postby txadv11 » Wed Dec 15, 2010 12:52 am

To someone that has done this... do you recommend phone calls or emails?

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kalvano
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Re: When do you negotiate merit scholarships?

Postby kalvano » Wed Dec 15, 2010 12:56 am

txadv11 wrote:To someone that has done this... do you recommend phone calls or emails?



Emails. It's professional enough and gives them time to consult with people and form a response. It would suck to be blindsided by that over the phone.

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IAFG
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Re: When do you negotiate merit scholarships?

Postby IAFG » Wed Dec 15, 2010 12:57 am

txadv11 wrote:To someone that has done this... do you recommend phone calls or emails?

emails. also, some schools (UVA i think? maybe others?) wanted me to forward my scholarship offer email to them. :roll:

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JennBNYC
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Re: When do you negotiate merit scholarships?

Postby JennBNYC » Wed Dec 15, 2010 12:59 am

nickwar wrote:I "negotiated" mine after all my acceptances had come in. I put negotiated in quotes because all I did was simply send an e-mail to a middle-tiered school (and my school of original choosing) explaining politely I had received acceptances at other, higher-ranked schools but would love to attend ____ because money is a major concern.

They e-mailed me back a few days later upping my scholarship offer by 50%. I accepted the next day.

I don't know how this went for other students, but just be polite, lay your cards down on the table without being pushy, and explain both your need for scholarship $$$ and actual desire to attend the university and you may have success. If you don't, what have you lost? I highly doubt they're going to axe your scholarship/acceptance for asking.

People seemed amazed I sent such an e-mail, but it was the easiest $10,000 I've earned in my life. You'll regret it if you don't try.

Update: My numbers were median LSAT, 75th GPA. I was offered a little over 1/3rd tuition initially and they bumped it a little over 1/2 tuition afterward. My scholarship was at a 30ish school and my other acceptances were around 18-22 with no $$$.


Nicely done! Doesn't hurt to ask. I hope to report back with a story like this one :-).

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kalvano
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Re: When do you negotiate merit scholarships?

Postby kalvano » Wed Dec 15, 2010 1:00 am

IAFG wrote:
txadv11 wrote:To someone that has done this... do you recommend phone calls or emails?

emails. also, some schools (UVA i think? maybe others?) wanted me to forward my scholarship offer email to them. :roll:



Because no one going into the legal profession would ever try and stretch the truth a little.

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IAFG
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Re: When do you negotiate merit scholarships?

Postby IAFG » Wed Dec 15, 2010 1:01 am

kalvano wrote:
IAFG wrote:
txadv11 wrote:To someone that has done this... do you recommend phone calls or emails?

emails. also, some schools (UVA i think? maybe others?) wanted me to forward my scholarship offer email to them. :roll:

Because no one going into the legal profession would ever try and stretch the truth a little.

iono, C&F fears would have stopped me if it had ever crossed my mind. everyone else took me at my word though.

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JennBNYC
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Re: When do you negotiate merit scholarships?

Postby JennBNYC » Wed Dec 15, 2010 1:04 am

txadv11 wrote:"75th percentiles for both LSAT and GPA, but I was only offered about 1/3 of the tuition"

I agree this seems rather low considering your numbers. Have you checked lawschoolnumbers.com to see what similar applicants are getting? I know some schools are incredibly generous, and others barely have any merit based scholarship.


The school I'm referring to doesn't offer a TON of scholarship money, especially since in-state tuition is so low. It seems like what I was offered is fairly on par with what I've seen on LSN for this year, however, looking at the stats for last year, some people with similar numbers received a bit more. I think I'll just hope the similar schools I applied to get back to me quickly...

Just thought of something actually...

I'll mostly likely be doing the FAFSA before I negotiate for more money, so how would it affect things if I WAS offered additional scholarship money after completing the FAFSA? Would I have to redo it? Sorry if that's a dumb question, but I honestly don't remember how that whole process works, or what it entails.

nickwar
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Re: When do you negotiate merit scholarships?

Postby nickwar » Wed Dec 15, 2010 1:05 am

kalvano wrote:
IAFG wrote:
txadv11 wrote:To someone that has done this... do you recommend phone calls or emails?

emails. also, some schools (UVA i think? maybe others?) wanted me to forward my scholarship offer email to them. :roll:



Because no one going into the legal profession would ever try and stretch the truth a little.


I guess I pre-countered that by offering to send them copies of my other acceptances in my initial e-mail. They never asked me for them.

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kalvano
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Re: When do you negotiate merit scholarships?

Postby kalvano » Wed Dec 15, 2010 1:07 am

JennBNYC wrote:I'll mostly likely be doing the FAFSA before I negotiate for more money, so how would it affect things if I WAS offered additional scholarship money after completing the FAFSA? Would I have to redo it? Sorry if that's a dumb question, but I honestly don't remember how that whole process works, or what it entails.



No, FAFSA won't make a difference.

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mpj_3050
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Re: When do you negotiate merit scholarships?

Postby mpj_3050 » Wed Dec 15, 2010 1:09 am

JennBNYC wrote:
txadv11 wrote:"75th percentiles for both LSAT and GPA, but I was only offered about 1/3 of the tuition"

I agree this seems rather low considering your numbers. Have you checked lawschoolnumbers.com to see what similar applicants are getting? I know some schools are incredibly generous, and others barely have any merit based scholarship.


The school I'm referring to doesn't offer a TON of scholarship money, especially since in-state tuition is so low. It seems like what I was offered is fairly on par with what I've seen on LSN for this year, however, looking at the stats for last year, some people with similar numbers received a bit more. I think I'll just hope the similar schools I applied to get back to me quickly...

Just thought of something actually...

I'll mostly likely be doing the FAFSA before I negotiate for more money, so how would it affect things if I WAS offered additional scholarship money after completing the FAFSA? Would I have to redo it? Sorry if that's a dumb question, but I honestly don't remember how that whole process works, or what it entails.


I am also wondering about the FAFSA and merit aid. Parental income doesn't count now and I work in a warehouse making terrible pay, but I don't want them to base anything off of my current job.

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kalvano
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Re: When do you negotiate merit scholarships?

Postby kalvano » Wed Dec 15, 2010 1:13 am

Your FAFSA won't make a damn bit of difference for federal loans. My EFC was stupidly high and I got approved for everything.

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OGR3
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Re: When do you negotiate merit scholarships?

Postby OGR3 » Wed Dec 15, 2010 1:17 am


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JennBNYC
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Re: When do you negotiate merit scholarships?

Postby JennBNYC » Wed Dec 15, 2010 1:22 am

mpj_3050 wrote:I am also wondering about the FAFSA and merit aid. Parental income doesn't count now and I work in a warehouse making terrible pay, but I don't want them to base anything off of my current job.


Wouldn't that be a good thing? If you're making terrible pay then you should be eligible for more aid?

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JennBNYC
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Re: When do you negotiate merit scholarships?

Postby JennBNYC » Wed Dec 15, 2010 1:22 am

kalvano wrote:Your FAFSA won't make a damn bit of difference for federal loans. My EFC was stupidly high and I got approved for everything.


Well, that's good to hear, lol.

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IAFG
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Re: When do you negotiate merit scholarships?

Postby IAFG » Wed Dec 15, 2010 1:23 am

JennBNYC wrote:
mpj_3050 wrote:I am also wondering about the FAFSA and merit aid. Parental income doesn't count now and I work in a warehouse making terrible pay, but I don't want them to base anything off of my current job.


Wouldn't that be a good thing? If you're making terrible pay then you should be eligible for more aid?

it doesn't matter. schools will let you take out all the loans you need for tuition + living expenses but your need will outside HYS will not increase your "free" scholarship money.

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FlightoftheEarls
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Re: When do you negotiate merit scholarships?

Postby FlightoftheEarls » Wed Dec 15, 2010 1:44 am

mpj_3050 wrote:
General Tso wrote:I'd probably wait until the spring. People will withdraw and free up scholarship money starting in about early to mid April.


I'm inclined to believe General Tso. I am in the same boat and need to try to get rid of a GPA stipulation with a school's offer. Of course more money would be nice and maybe waiting things out a bit will help.

Perhaps waiting will help, but schools typically offer scholarships the same way they do admissions - they know they have a yield and will more than likely offer more than will be accepted. For that reason, my personal suggestion would be to send a polite email as soon as you have the scholarship offers from your schools.

Ultimately, one of two things will likely happen:
1. You send the scholarship negotiation email in December/January and (a) they have money and offer you more, (b) don't have money but tell you they'll keep you in consideration if money frees up, or (c) tell you that's all you're getting.
2. You send the scholarship negotiation email in March/April and (a) they don't have money but tell you they'll keep you in consideration if money frees up, or (b) tell you that's all you're getting.

As somebody who applied fairly late a couple years ago, I sent those emails in March and got the 2(a) email from the school I tried to negotiate with, but nothing came of it. There's really no downside to emailing now if you have the various offers, and once the money is gone - it's gone. I'd personally recommend sooner rather than later.

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txadv11
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Re: When do you negotiate merit scholarships?

Postby txadv11 » Wed Dec 15, 2010 10:59 am

Someone please correct me if I am wrong here.

I thought the way it works is (example):
tuition=30,000 minus merit aid of say, 10,000

tuition now = 20,000 plus living etc.. let's just say one year is a even 35,000

*You can borrow 8,500 from the government "subsidized (you don't pay interest while in school)
*You can borrow up to another 20,500 on a unsubsidized loan from the government (you pay interest right away I think?)
so out of your 35,000, 29 of it is on loan from the government, you need an additional 6,000.
*You can take out more from a "grad loan plus", which is the tricky one, I think these CAN have adjustable rates, or have strings attached.

Again, someone PLEASE correct me, I am still trying to research this for myself and don't mind being proven wrong what-so-ever.

Also I left out "need based aid" because I don't understand it.... I was told that graduate students are automatically considered independent for loan purposes and it really doesn't have much to do with credit scores etc.... until the grad plus loans... Also that at all law schools, "no law student federal grants are possible/available" So need based aid comes from the school? If they made me an offer of (in example above) 10,000 out of 30,000, then isn't that as far as they are willing to go (without negotiation), when/how does need based come into play?




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